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Thread: Straightening the 355 groove

  1. #1
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    Straightening the 355 groove


    From a distance the side grooves on my 355 look ok, but looking down the side of the car or upon scrutiny they are not very good. I think its these sort of details which can make a kit car look like a kit car.

    Just wondering what you guys have done ? Maybe your 'grooves' are already straight !

    Its almost like you need a router attached to a straight edge to run down the length of the car to get them right. Problem is the doors curve in, which would make this very tricky.

    Any idea's ?

    ok from a distance:




    not so good when straight edge used:





    The original groove is absolutely straight:


  2. #2
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    Re: Straightening the 355 groove

    This falls under the "is it worth the time and effort to fix" catagory... This is how I would go about it. I would find the 2 points of the curve, the begining and the end and mark those with a marker. then I would cut a line into the panel on the top and bottom of the groove but not in the groove itself but above and below it. This will allow the groove to then be shifted up or down. Then I would put some HVAC (lowes, home depot) tape behind it and fill it in with short strand filler. Then last I would add 2 to 3 layers of fierglass on the inside of the door skin. Not all that hard of a project but it is some work. good luck

  3. #3
    Senior Member Don's Avatar
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    Re: Straightening the 355 groove

    Nick;

    I had the same problem with my doors. I ended up taking the time to fix them as I was not happy with the way everything lined up. Having said that, it was not trivial to get done.

    First thing you have to do is to straighten your doors out so they are flat front to back as the coke botle effect that our kits have pull the door line out. Once you do the flattening, you will find your groove is almost straight already. After that, if it is still unacceptable, you can then start cutting the panels and aligning again. From the pics, I would hazard a guess that you would be pretty good if you just flattened your doors out.

    Now, to do that......

    You need to take the door panel off the car and see how thick the fiberglass is around the groove area and about 5-6"each side. Mostly above the groove. If it is exceptionally thick, grind a bunch of the glass of from the rear side so that the panel will be a bit more flexible. You then have to take a LARGE metal square tube, and clamp it from end to end couple inches above the groove itself. You can then look down the door panel and see whether it truly pulled the centre section out enough to make it flat or very near to.

    If it is still bowed in considerably, take some more of the rear glass thickness out both above and below the groove. Do the same proceedure above and see how flat the panel is. Once you are good with the flatness, you now need to glass in another metal bar, (smaller than the monster you straightened it with) into the back of the door panel right above and up against the groove inside.

    Put on several layers of fiberglass and ensure you go around the metal tube so you cover the tube as well as away from the tube to thicken the glass back up to keep the new shape. I used 1x2 square tubing to do this and I also put fiberglass gel between the tube and the panel to really get a good bond.

    Once this is all done, you will then go and put the door panel back on the car and find out that the front and rear door mounting panels are no longer aligned with the door frame..... The straightening procedure usually twists the door panel a little bit while it is flattening it out. You will most likely need to cut the front and rear door mounting panels off the reshaped door planel and refiberglass those on once they are realigned to the new panel and the door frame.

    Good side to this is that your door panels will no longer have the coke bottle shape which gives the car away as a kit and it should really straigthen out the groove you are trying to reshape.

    Bad side is..... it is a fair amount of work. Not hard but it is time consuming. The end result is you also end up with faarily heavy door panel. Mine, after doing this and a bunch of other realigning and bondo and glassing, was way too heavy so I ended up making molds of the now straight and aligned panels and then making new door panels. My doors were much worse than yours by the looks of it though.

    A fair amount of work but, in my opinion, worth the time to do for the finishing touches on a lot of other work to get your car where you want it.

    Good luck
    Don
    308 Ferrari replica
    Prova Countach 5000QV

  4. #4

    Re: Straightening the 355 groove

    wot 355 kit is it, looks like an mr2 conversion,.......... where u based?

  5. #5
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    Re: Straightening the 355 groove

    I have fixed most every problem these bodys throw at you. Dons idea sounds much easier and faster than what I did. I ended up slicing the door into sections, clamping 1X1 tube to the body line (moves much easier now that it isn't attached to the rest of the glass), using the body line as a reference, pull out the rest of the door with small holes and about 5 plastic ties per 'shingle'. You will have a door that is 'stepped', and no stress. Just glass it in from the back side after a good grinding to make it flat. I have come to the conclusion that the only way to make the upper and lower body lines straight is to fill them all completely in, use a straightedge once the doors are completely flat, pencil in the lower and upper body line and sand to the pencil marks you made. I have a perfectly flat door, front to back, with a bit of a flare at the wheel wells. Below is my web page with some pics to show the cuts I made to the door. TOO MUCH WORK, I would go by Dons recommendation. Let me know if I can help more.

    http://www.geocities.com/motorcity/s...044/f3552.html

    After I was all done with my straightedge and longboards, it looks like this:



    Eric

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    Re: Straightening the 355 groove

    thank you for the replies guys, it seems this 'coke bottle' effect is not just certain kits - i wonder why we are seeing this on different kits ( yes mine is an mr2 base ), is it a moulding issue with the door shape ? , but then Don - you say you have made up new moulds from your corrected doors, so it must be possible for the manufactures to mould them correctly in the first place ?

    I think cutting the door into sections and then clamping to a straight edge or even cutting the groove out then fibreglassing back in straight would produce the best results as you guys have suggested, however ..... unfortunately i have already bonded the door skin on and done a fair amount of prep around all the door gaps / door tops.

    I had a more severe problam with the doors initially ( photo's to follow ) in that each door had a bulge in the air scoop so it looked anything but flat. I corrected this by a clamp arrangement, gentle heat - then a few layers of glass on the back to hold it flat.

    Bulge - this is much more noticeable in finished painted cars:







    This will present problems for any coke bottle correction since one half of the door is alot more rigid due to the extra glass on the back. However i suspect as mentioned that if the coke bottle shape was pulled out the groove would fall back in line.

    A quick look from the inside of the car , reveals very little if any access to the groove area of the door from the back. So while i could cut the door into sections from the outside, i cant see how i could repair the area from behind.

    Maybe the only answer is removing the door skin, but this feels like a big backwards step in an already long build !

    Any thoughts ?


  7. #7
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    Re: Straightening the 355 groove

    Hi Nick200, could you tell as who is the maker of this kit. I`m curious to know because the quality of the kit doesn`t look good at all.
    Thanks Bob

  8. #8
    Senior Member Don's Avatar
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    Re: Straightening the 355 groove

    Nick;

    Well, bad news for you. There really is going to be a step backwards to get this corrected properly in the end run. The only way I see for you to do this right is to cut the skin off and straighten it out along the groove line and then reattach to the inner door mounting skin. I wish I could tell you that there is a better way but nothing I have found or thought of.

    You will also find that if you do not cut the door skin of when straightening it out, you will end up with the inner door mounting portion no longer sits properly on the door itself. When straightening, you will see that the inner portion will bow in or push in as the centre section of the door comes out.

    Again, a step back but if you want to remove the coke bottle problem, it wil be worth the effort in the end run.

    I have a slight bugle in my air scoop as well and I did not really notice it until after I had made the new door skins so I said the heck with it and moved on.

    Good luck with your decision.

    Cheers
    Don
    308 Ferrari replica
    Prova Countach 5000QV

  9. #9
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    Re: Straightening the 355 groove

    Quote Originally Posted by bobeto
    Hi Nick200, could you tell as who is the maker of this kit. I`m curious to know because the quality of the kit doesn`t look good at all.
    Thanks Bob
    Bob,

    it is an extreme kit.

  10. #10
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    Re: Straightening the 355 groove

    Quote Originally Posted by Don
    Nick;

    Well, bad news for you. There really is going to be a step backwards to get this corrected properly in the end run. The only way I see for you to do this right is to cut the skin off and straighten it out along the groove line and then reattach to the inner door mounting skin. I wish I could tell you that there is a better way but nothing I have found or thought of.

    You will also find that if you do not cut the door skin of when straightening it out, you will end up with the inner door mounting portion no longer sits properly on the door itself. When straightening, you will see that the inner portion will bow in or push in as the centre section of the door comes out.

    Again, a step back but if you want to remove the coke bottle problem, it wil be worth the effort in the end run.

    I have a slight bugle in my air scoop as well and I did not really notice it until after I had made the new door skins so I said the heck with it and moved on.

    Good luck with your decision.

    Cheers
    Don
    Don, yes i have thought and thought but the only answer seems to be cuting the door skin off to straighten the curve. I know what you are saying that when you straighten the panel the door sides will bow out and all the panel gaps will be out again. :'(

    Looking out the window here in the UK, it is white with frost and -2.5 C so for the moment i'm going to think on this issue.....

    thanks again all, for input. Nick.


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